We first reviewed the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in Bath in 2015, and I’m delighted to share that this luxury hotel is as polished as it was seven years ago. It is also worth mentioning that the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is part of the Virtuoso agency scheme, meaning that you can book a room here (or at any other luxury hotel in the world) via our luxury travel concierge, and you will get brilliant extra benefits such as free breakfast for two, resort credit and room upgrade.
Set in the center of the infamous and stunning Royal Crescent, this hotel is a chic city retreat looking over the historic city of Bath. The main hotel is based in one of the Georgian residences that make up the Royal Crescent, identified by the doormen standing outside.
The Royal Crescent experience begins the moment you step onto the historic cobbles and paving that embrace the front of this property. Whether you arrive by car or by train, the journey through the surrounding English hills is always a delight. Bath is only one and a half hours train journey from London, which makes this hotel an ideal weekend getaway.
Style & Character
Once you have stepped through the front door, the chatty doorman will absolutely insist on taking the load and pain of your baggage, even your handbag! You will be guided inside, where immaculate contemporary furnishings are cleverly mingled with historic paintings, formal busts, and grandfather clocks.
All are pristine and beautifully elegant, with sweet-scented fresh-cut flowers adorning every surface. The reception area is hidden away, far from the focal point. You feel like you are being welcomed into a friend’s home from another age rather than entering a hotel.
This historic building has retained all of its original features, and the historic Georgian atmosphere is celebrated. Staying here feels like you’re stepping back in time into a Jane Austin novel.
Beyond the formal lounges and check-in desk are doors that tempt you out into the hotel garden, which is hidden behind the main building. In spring, I remember daffodils and forget-me-nots sprouting haphazardly out of the borders and edging their way into the grass.
This time we stayed in early September, and the air in the garden was heavily scented by the lavender bushes that line the pathways, and the lawn was a mesh of yellow and brown hues after a long hot summer.
And the clientele? Sophisticated, well-heeled, smiling, reading the Times or the Telegraph under the parasols in the garden.
Service & Facilities
Absolutely bursting with color, the hidden garden is a highlight of this hotel, and it extends beyond the back of the hotel to include stunning clock houses with further rooms, suites, a restaurant, bar, and spa.
Pretty flowering trees and plants battle their way to fill every pot and border. Dotted between the plants and perched on the lawn are numerous wooden tables and chairs with parasols and a stylish clientele reading their papers whilst sipping a cup of tea in the sunshine.
At the end of the garden, you have the spa to your left, and in front of you, the restaurant and bar spill out onto the paving and grass. Looking down on this perfectly formed English country garden in the heart of Bath are a number of suites, many with large private balconies.
The small but perfectly formed Spa & Bath House on the other side of the garden is also very good. A particular highlight is a miniature but immaculate pool offset by natural woods, bamboo, and slate and with big barrels of inviting warm water to relax in.
The magic of this hotel is clearly in part the wonderful rooms, and we have stayed in a number of them. Previously we enjoyed a suite that was out of the back of the main building and across the delightful garden.
Last time we stayed in the Nelson suite which was reached by walking into one of these outer buildings and up an impressive spherical staircase. The suite was decorated in the hues of greys and blues with nautical paintings sporting Nelson and other historical figures of the age adorning the walls. It welcomed you in with thick drapes, luxurious carpets, and slatted shutters.
The room was split into two, with a sitting area opposite a traditional fireplace and bookshelves. Double doors opened out onto an extensive terrace with four seats, a large wooden table, and a parasol – very private but with wonderful views across the garden. The bedroom was set behind the living area and was designed in much darker tones, offset by crisp white bedding. An additional thick, velvety curtain separated the living and bedroom area for extra privacy and added to the luxurious feel of the room.
This time we stayed in another Master Suite brimming with Georgian splendor. It featured a large living room decorated in lavender with an original fireplace, sililly high ceilings, and views across the garden. The separate bedroom had the same lovely views, and then an appealing children’s bedroom was hidden behind a concealed doorway. To be honest, each room is so unique that it’s hard to choose which is best.
Food & Drink
At the far end of the garden, you find the stylish bar and restaurant. When the sun is out, the bar’s patio doors are opened wide to enable alfresco afternoon or evening drinks. The decor is again hues of bluey-grey, and its stylish look makes it worthy of slipping on a nice pair of heels. Muted music, dimmed lighting, lovely canapés, and attentive staff all contributed to the inviting atmosphere.
To the other side of the black slate hallway from the bar is the fine dining restaurant, which again is decorated in sophisticated greys and provides an inspiring 6-course tasting menu.
Breakfast here is a particular treat and is served by lovely staff. The menu is varied, offering “Traditional English” along with all sorts of other egg and waffle dishes. I went for smoked salmon and poached egg, but there was a plethora of choices.
The buffet here is particularly good with mouthwatering yogurt and honey, bowls of fruit as well as poached pairs, bircher muesli, an impressive array of fresh pastries, mini muffins, and a selection of cereals. To top it all, a decent cup of coffee is served, which is not something to be taken for granted even at the best five-star establishments.
Bath center is a very short stroll down the hill with its pretty main street, river, and the Roman Baths themselves, but I’ll be honest with you. Once we were welcomed through the doors of this gem of a hotel, we had no inclination to leave. We could have spent many days just enjoying the birdsong in the garden and nights at the bar and restaurant.
If you’ve been searching for the perfect English hotel for lazy weekends, one that you can go to and be guaranteed a wonderful stay, The Royal Crescent is that hotel. There isn’t anywhere else quite like it! If you do decide to visit, look out for me sipping a cup of tea or a beer in the garden, as this is one of my favorite weekend hideaways.
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